gurdymonkey: (Default)
Starts at the second to last line of this page on Flickr. and the first three lines of

Baron Joel (unnoticed by me at the time) was stationed up front with a long lens and got some nice shots.
gurdymonkey: (pretties)
Borne towards my duty
By the music of heaven
I swore on my life.
Such duty is no burden
When supported by such friends.

Maddening because it cuts out in the middle of Dame Christian's speech!!!! Which was to the point without being gushy or make me wonder who she could possibly be talking about.

gurdymonkey: (Default)
Courtesy of Erin Kelly. She got some great ones of the Monkey Bearers, our Han Chinese couple and a good evidence shot of how dirty my mo got on that poolside patio.
gurdymonkey: (pretties)

One of the things I never understood when I lived with Gaius was the stack of cardboard folios holding award scrolls under the futon sofa. Someone goes to the trouble of creating a piece of art for you, you should find a place to hang the thing, right? Besides, I figure it's much safer in a frame and on a wall in an apartment this small. Frame was on sale at Michael's and I found some lovely paper with a delicate leaf design in it. Your basic white mat board just was not going to cut it.

Currently it's in the spot inside the front door where my Troubadour was, which means finding another patch of wall space for that or moving this somewhere else. Pros: I'll see it every time I come in the front door or down the stairs, it's out of direct sunlight. Cons: it'll be partially eclipsed by the bathroom door when said door is open. (Wall space is at something of a premium as my third floor space is gabled. Anything I want to hang gets hung downstairs.)

And on THAT note, I really need to deal with the disaster area that is my post-Twelfth-Night living room.
gurdymonkey: (easy)
I sent my family the link to [ profile] bovil's pictures from Twelfth Night. This morning I receive the following email from my mother who really, REALLY ought to know better: Somehow I don't think a swelled head is going to be a problem.

"Amazing  pictures. You look great....did you make the costume ???  Congratulations !!"

Somehow I don't think a swelled head is going to be a problem.

Quiz show prize goes to Ishida-dono (the redhead in the green in the event pictures). He PM'ed me on the Tousando, having noticed my screen name change. "It pleases me greatly that you are using your newly-deserved title here." As well as a prize for making me feel like a total slacker for couch surfing with a post-event sore throat every night this week and only just getting to the laundry today. He banged THIS out this week.

A review of how much vacation time I have amassed indicates I can probably do An Tir/West War this 4th of July. He has been duly informed that we may make plans regarding dazzling An Tir with Japaneseness.

While I feel the Hilton ought to comp my room for me sweeping their patio, the mo came out of the dryer looking no worse for the wear, as did my nagabakama. White uchigi is in the delicate cycle all by itself. The hems were pretty vile.... looks good as new.

gurdymonkey: (pretties)
Earlier today, the ever-wise [ profile] xrian thought to mention to me that "it *is* OK to wear your Laurel medallion to bed, to work etc. for a couple of days if you want to. A surprising number of Laurels have done so, whether they will admit to it or not."

Not only is it not the sort of thing that would've occurred to me, but my new regalia has already induced one panic. I have a history with award tokens: I lost my Corolla Vitae (strung on a paternoster, discovered the silk broke and half of it was long gone when I was undressing), the string of black pearls and garnets given to me by Mistress Guernin Cimarguid which I put my Rose Leaf on exploded no less than three times before I gave up and interred what was left of it in a zip lock bag. As a result, I tend to wear a cookie on the day I get it, then they stay at home. Some are in a drawer in the spice cabinet in the bathroom and my Western Lily and Princess' token from Sora-hime are hanging on the corner of the desk bookcase here where I can see them. The sole exceptions are my Defender of the West torse, which is securely tied around my green brocade obi and has managed to stay there over multiple wearings since I received it in 2009. This led me to string my Cambium on a sturdy cord with a monkey netsuke, which I've worn suspended from my obi/hakama ties several times.

So Sunday morning, I carefully put both medallions in a pouch with a necklace [ profile] la_peregrina had given me so I wouldn't lose them and put the pouch in a safe place. I woke up in the middle of the night all freaked out because I couldn't remember where that safe place was, which meant running downstairs and ripping through the several tote bags I'd unloaded the night before. It wasn't there. I made myself calm down and assured myself it had to be in the suitcase, which I'd been too tired to wrestle with and left in the back of the truck. Unloaded the suitcase and brought it up Monday afternoon. No pouch. Checked all the totes again. Checked EVERYTHING again. Including, this time, my purse. Duh.

Current whereabouts is a corner of the bathroom sink right where I can see said pouch every time I go past it before I mentally settle on a place to keep it that I won't forget. Just like I have a routine with where the keys go in my purse and where the purse goes when I come in the house so I don't spend my life running around like a dork searching for my keys. (Eye roll. I swear I inherited this trait from Dad!)

[ profile] modehistorique wrote an entry about her Laurel experience (so bummed I was Zen Face Spackling and missed it, because I'm sure it was epic in its own way) and about how awesome her friends/household are and all the stuff they made for her. Now this is awesome and I don't begrudge her a thing because it's all very cool and appropriate for her and she belongs to a household that doesn't consist of stuffed monkeys. My situation is totally different. Imagine my in-kingdom friends trying to hatch any sort of project to surprise me with - without being able to ask anyone what would be appropriate because my niche is the narrow one and I'm the Resident Expert (TM). "We need a live rooster to take the curse off Jose's glove and nobody seems to know what to get Millie or Jimmy for their wedding present."

The Ishiyamas (from Aethelmearc), did, however, make me two lengths of green and gold kumihimo cord.  The lower one has been cleverly fitted with a ring and toggle. I wore both in my ceremony: the short one tied into a bow to hold my wig ponytail was a minor anachronism, but I wanted to display it, especially as the long one was doing hold-the-underlayers-closed duty somewhere under my mo.

And I received two more Cheerful Monkey pieces by Sarre and Elsbeth of Reannag Teine, wrapped in a screaming orange furoshiki with an asanoha (hemp leaf) motif and presented to me by Mistress Sabrina de La Bere and Duchess Catherine Lorraine.

Besides, what would Sarah do with a handcrafted sake set by Mercy the Potter anyway? (Will try to get pics tomorrow, so much of this stuff is still packed protectively.)  I can see one of my winter projects needs to be padded pouches for my fragile goodies.

Yeah, I made out just fine.

The wish tree was a success once folks figured out how it worked. It was in the room for the Friday night party, then on a table in the feast hall Saturday, with a supply of papers and a couple Sharpies. I managed to get a bag over it and transport it home without taking it all down and it's currently sitting on top of the Gaius Auklandus Memorial Monolith (a 37" tube TV). Lots of good stuff on it too, ranging from the touching, to the Zen ("Before peerage: chop wood, carry water. After peerage: chop wood, carry water.") to the completely random ("I like turtles.")
(Courtesy of Mozelle Williams.)
gurdymonkey: (profile)

Back to work and it's been CRAZY busy. I spent a significant chunk of Monday doing Zen photocopying as our guys had cleaned us completely out of new-hire packets. We picked up four or five while I was out Friday and I had to deal with six packets in the middle of the madness that is Payroll.

Dutifully signed up for the kingdom's Laurel e-group yesterday. This precipitated a lengthy email from Duke Henrik, by way of "introduction." Turns out he's an avid collector of Japanese swords and had at one time wanted to pursue Japanese activities in the SCA, but there wasn't much to work with at the time and he didn't want to do it badly. (I've met the man, this does not surprise me in the slightest.) He expressed interest in sitting down with me at some point and discussing a possible commission. I expressed interest in his interest and recommended he check out the Tousando. He's already made his first post there.

Speaking of which, I modified my profile name over there. Instead of "Makiwara," my screen name says "Saionji Shonagon." (Squee! Let's see who it confuses.)

I hurt like hell right now and I figure it's a combination of pre-Twelfth Night muscle tension, dragging around the weight of my garb (and wig) on Saturday and this evening's two hour taiko practice. I'll pop an Advil before bed and maybe try to catch someone at the massage chair after work tomorrow.

gurdymonkey: (pretties)

Number of garments I am wearing: Seven (four layers of false uchigi were achieved.)
Number of out-of-kingdom "accessories" in this picture: eight. (Doesn't everyone look AMAZING? Though my wig was definitely attempting a circumpolar navigation of my scalp at this point.)

Number of musicians in my personal gagaku ensemble: three.
(Left to right, Abe Akirakeiko, Ii Saburou Katsumori, Ishida no Kentarou Mitsumasa.)

Number of monkeys hanging out on my train: three.

Number of laurel medallions worn: two, both gifts from friends: one is brass and enamel and the one visible in the photo below is black stained wood with chip carving.

Number of Best Party Ever: two. Ended up spending Saturday night trying to finish off the leftovers from the moon-viewing party. Only new bottles kept mysteriously appearing. Came home with two bottles of sake, half a bottle of umeshu, two of shoju, and two red wine. I blame Staffan for the proliferating shoju bottles.

Number of ZOMGWTF Gold Ink Amazing [ profile] danabren art: One. (Will attempt to get a decent photo or two tomorrow afternoon when I can try to shoot with some natural light, but this one was posted to FB by Lady Jocelyn Rowanwood.)

Number of painfully adorable and well-behaved* children invited to be Monkey Bearers for the procession: three. Hope someone got photos! (I had no doubts of the girls, but Robert's all of four and all the hurry up and wait was hard for him.)

Well, you get the idea. It doesn't get any better than this. Will write more when I'm not so crispy. but I knew you'd all kill me if I didn't post something.

EDIT: Jocelyn just sent me this. I still need a shot that doesn't obscure the top margin, but I didn't want to take it all the way out of its protective bits.
gurdymonkey: (Default)
Last night, on a whim, I checked Teh Intarwebz to see whether the first Sunday antiques flea market was on and resolved that if I woke up at a decent hour, the Sweatshop Of Crying Monkeys would have a holiday.

However, I got up late enough that I didn't want to try to bike out. My knee is feeling better again, but I'm out of shape and an eight mile round trip is more than I quite felt up for. Besides, the point of today was to attempt to relax.

It being New Year's, the place was nowhere near the madhouse it can be. While there were lots of empty vendor spaces, there were plenty to keep me occupied. I walked around, got some fresh air, treated myself to a Belgian waffle from a food truck and promptly got all the powdered sugar all over my black tee shirt trying to eat it. One vendor had a single iron Japanese stirrup inlaid with silver flowers. He said it was 16th or 17th c. and it might have been. (Not as nice as this one, but they are very distinctive.)  Came home with a couple of inexpensive treasures, a great rice sack that will look cute on the kitchen wall ($10), and one of those little Japanese cardboard drawered boxes with an arrow motif that I just had to have. ($8).

  Of course, by the time I came home and finished my lunch, I was feeling headachy. I took a couple Advil and crashed out on the futon for a bit in front of some "Treme" reruns on HBO.

   Right now I'm taking a break from punching holes in the tanzaku and    putting buttonhole thread ties on them for hanging off the wish tree. The $3 hole punch I bought at Office Max is a piece of crap, so I just dug out a big carpet needle and started punching the card stock by hand.

Feels good to be on track. I've still got things to do this week, but I no longer feel like my head's going to explode.
gurdymonkey: (profile)
Instead of brush strokes
I write my poor intentions
With needle and thread.
My forebears copied the sutras,
I must take another way.

Prompted by an explanation I had to give a friend who offered to help me sew for Twelfth Night if it came down to crunch time. I must sew every stitch and I must do it by hand. If it was important enough to me to hand sew everything I make before Their Majesties ambushed me, how much more so for the clothing I am to wear on the occasion I join the Order of the Laurel? Thanks, but nobody gets to help with this bit.
gurdymonkey: (mysca)
.....for a moment to squee.

Current confirmed out-of-towners (with Asian personae) coming to Twelfth Night include Ii Saburo Katsumori & Abe Akirakeiko, the Ishiyamas, Ishida no Kentarou Mitsumasa, Li Guang Ming and Wu Lixian.

Holy crap!

gurdymonkey: (Default)
Since it's not a bad distance away, I drove over to Dharma Trading in San Rafael this morning as I needed some gold paint and some dye for my Twelfth Night projects. My genius idea of using a commercial resist on the silk jacquard isn't going to work because the resists are designed to work with paint-on dyes. No biggie and I'm glad I got to find out about it before I tried it and had it not work.  I may simply "reserve" the roundels on the karaginu in white by using thinned white paint for a subtle, washy effect. I also found out that they're hosting a workshop on indigo dyeing with Yoshiko Wada, Sunday 11/13. If I day-trip Cynagua Mists War, I could do that. (Indigo dyeing is just not gonna happen at the 2065 Club because I do not have the space to do it for real, but I'd be interested to go and maybe ask Ms. Wada to sign my copy of her shibori book.)  EDIT: I just called to register and the lady at Dharma said they may have to change the date, so she's supposed to call me back once she knows. I'll share the info in case anyone else local is interested.

Hit Black Oak Books on my way back south - while not as disorganized as it was when it first opened, it's still not terribly organized (WHAT, I ask you are The Canterbury Tales doing in the Mythology/Folklore section?). That said, I found a nice little hardcover book on Gagaku from the 1970s with lots of photos of costumes, musical instruments and so forth and a lovely poetry anthology from Shambhala Press called Only Companion: Japanese Poems of Love and Longing.  Why yes, I did take the opportunity to mention it on the Tousando. Why no, I did not scan a minimum of 20 pages out of it and gush about it being a must for one's collection. But that's just me. I will, however, repeat the Izumi Shikibu quote here because it's so evocative.

My black hair tangled
As my own tangled thoughts,
I lie here alone,
Dreaming of one who has gone,
Who stroked my hair till it shone.

And then there's this gem by Socho:

Now what can I do?
My writing hand in a cast
Is useless--
Can't manipulate chopsticks,
Can't even wipe my ass!

Now for a bite of lunch, then I should work on my class notes for a bit.
gurdymonkey: (pretties)
Jacquard No Flow resist.

If it works as advertised, I could conceivably use it to reserve the roundels on that silk jacquard in white while dyeing the rest of it, which would be awesome. Just fired off a note to Dharma Trading's customer service link to see what they recommend.

EDIT: and it's not worth the risk, leaving the whole thing white or dyeing it a pale pink overall would not be the worst thing in the world, given the color scheme of the rest of the kasane. May run over to Dharma tomorrow for a consultation. Besides, I'm all out of Lumiere paint anyway.

To wig or not to wig. My old wig is old and it's a Halloween POS. My real hair is about 3' too short and I'd have to dye it even darker than it is....   With the popularity of cosplay, there are some decent looking long wigs out there. ([ profile] sarcasm_hime, can you comment or recommend?) However, wigs are by nature heat traps, I will already be wearing a lot of clothing and the ceremony calls for the placement of a medallion and a cloak on me......

(Ooh, note to self, do not forget to order tooth black!)

I'm liking the wish-tree idea the more I think about it. Bamboo is traditional for Tanabata, however, it will be January and the UnVigil theme is a moon viewing on a snowy evening. Fill the pottery vase I bought with pebbles, anchor some winter-bare branches in it and hope no one loses an eye. 'Cause it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.

Dear [ profile] la_peregrina,
I know you want to come, but real life comes first! I will be much happier knowing you're taking care of yourself and have your priorities straight if you cannot - and so would Gaius and so would Wilhelm. Surely SOMEONE will get photos of all this nonsense in any event, quite possibly even [ profile] bovil and [ profile] moriven, who I actually trust to do it well. So there, nyah.
gurdymonkey: (profile)
....I'd know someone who could actually PLAY gagaku for my ceremony at Twelfth Night. In the meantime, I found this beautiful arrangement of the gagaku classic "Etenraku"* for ryuteki and theremin.

*Friends who saw my masquerade appearance at Costume Con 26 may or may not remember that I used 60 seconds of "Etenraku" for my stately amble across stage.
gurdymonkey: (pretties)
Just heard the news that sarahbellem and two others (don't know who yet as it's up to them to decide what news to put out and when and where) have also been offered Twelfth Night Laurels. I hate Sarah. She's pretty and petite and has a darling figure and a Hot Laurel Boyfriend and a weird pinecone fetish and makes beautiful, complicated historical clothing from a variety of periods (but most notably the 16th century).  I'm TOTALLY kidding about the hatin' part: she was one of the folks who threw themselves on me yesterday and the only one who said the occasion demanded a fist bump.

GO SARAH - and whoever the Players To Be Named Later are.

gurdymonkey: (pretties)
West Kingdom Twelfth Night will be at the Concord Hilton.

What info I have so far can be found here.

Gwenhwyfaer, Willing Western Minion At Large has already ascertained that the hotel has no suites*  - she was going to find out for me if they did and how much and all that as a suite might be easier to configure should I decide to have a vigil. I've given her the go-ahead to try to reserve two singles that adjoin as a viable alternative. (They have something called "Executive Rooms" instead. These share a lounge area on a key-controlled floor.)

Work continues to be crazy busy, however, after Tuesday, it ceases to be my problem for a week. Looking forward to heading east to see my family.
gurdymonkey: (Default)
The downside of buying beautiful, beautiful fabric is the part where I have to haul five or more yards of uncut fabric across the ironing board to press it after it's been washed. Did the silk this morning. It looks even lighter and leafier under the kitchen fluorescents.

Went out with a bunch of lady friends (they know who they are!) for tea down in Fremont - scones, fancy sandwiches, pastry and so forth. Nice to see everyone and potter around some of the shops in the Niles district. In addition to an Imperial craptonne of antique shops, we found a silent film museum which runs vintage movies and had a fun little shop with silent-movie-oriented gifts. I picked up several fun flip books for the nephews and fell in love with a print of the French King Kong poster by Rene Peron. I guess he can hang in the kitchen.

EDIT: Silk is cut out. Luscious stuff. As I was pressing it this morning I was picturing leaf-green ball gowns: 1870's bustle, Regency, robe a la Francaise, that's how nice this stuff is. I don't like bustle gowns, if I'm seeing it in that style, it's that good. And it as $9.99/yard. I will definitely make the effort to hit that store again. I figure I can knock out the hitoe by hand in a few evenings in front of the TV.

gurdymonkey: (thought)
(Referring to the Laurus nobilis or Bay Laurel tree.)  Yet there are laurel wreaths on these sake barrels. As is typical when the universe is messing with me, I thought it would make a nice photographic subject and I didn't even notice the laurel wreaths until I uploaded the photos to my laptop.

(Not that I can read Japanese, but I can compare images.) Further research indicates these kagami biraki, spotted outside a restaurant in Japantown, are the product of Gekkeikan, USA, whose logo features a gold laurel wreath. 

However, there is a shrub (wondering now if it's prickly and hard to eradicate), Aucuba japonica which is indigenous to Japan and China, that is sometimes referred to as "Japanese laurel," "spotted laurel" or "Gold Dust Plant." This last refers to yellow or gold variegations on the leaves. (OK, not so much prickly, but appears hardy if not ineradicable.)

Who knew....

gurdymonkey: (easy)
I've been thinking I wanted to do the kasane known as "yuki no shita" for some time. I now have an excuse to do it for Twelfth Night, so I went off to check out a fabric store in San Francisco. I came home with enough silk to make a new hitoe. (I hate my old one, it's too drapy and the sleeves never hang right.)

For reference, we have the descriptions and color charts at
The hitoe color reads as a sprucy green on my monitor. shows the kasane as displayed in the Kyoto Costume Museum, with a bold green for the hitoe layer. Dalby's Kimono: Fashioning Culture shows the hitoe for this kasane as "blue green", almost teal.

My conundrum? The silk I scored for $9.99 at Fabrix is a much lighter shade. [image]
I pounced on it for the price as it's beautifully un-slubby and I figured I could overdye it if I like.  The problem, The bag was on the car seat with the color winking at the corner of my eye all the way home and it's beautiful.

Yuki no shita means "beneath the snow," and is supposed to evoke plum blossoms and the coming of spring.

To dye and conform or to leave it as is? I can't decide!

Other than that, the weekend is off to a good start. Duchess Tamsin contacted me this week about getting together for a celebratory dinner and turned up on my doorstep last night with an elegant little shopping bag containing a tin of ceremony grade matcha and wagashi, and an offer to introduce me to another friend who does tea and gives lessons in San Francisco. If we can come to an arrangement that will not kill my budget, I would love to do this.

We had dinner at Dragon Rouge here in Alameda. Yummy, yummy Vietnamese food in a bustling bistro/bar setting. And lychee sangria! We ordered several things to share and it was all good.

With the kasane conundrum comes the need for silk, hence the field trip into SF, having surfed the web and found Fabrix listed. As their website hinted at cheap silk, I figured I'd check it out, then maybe go up to Dharma in San Rafael if it didn't pan out. The place is not as much a claustrophobe's nightmare as that place down in San Jose that makes me twitch. Found the silks right away at $9.99/yard for most of them. Would've bought more white in the weight of that green if they had it, but they were down to a yard. That's enough to get started with - my budget could stand to do this project in stages and I've got a couple months to spread it out over anyway. The proprietor said they expected more silks in this afternoon, and they get things in waves, so it's definitely worth checking back.

Detoured through Japantown, found some small airtight tea tins at Soko that'll be a nice addition to my camp kitchen. Still out of tayaki irons though. Bought myself two pieces of mochi at Benkyodo for dessert, having finally figured out where they were. Been walking past it for years and never noticed it. Found a book on Shinran at Kinokuniya that looked informative - I figure Saionji would've probably been of the Jodo Shin sect and it would be nice to know more about it in detail.

Lunch now....


gurdymonkey: (Default)

August 2017

1314 1516171819
20212223 242526


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 19th, 2017 06:45 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios